Foundations and Framework of Instructional Technology Psychological Foundations, Learning Environments, and Learner Motivation
Introduction For all people involved in the profession of education, the primary goal is to ensure the passing of knowledge to our learners, such that they have the ability to perform the objectives set for them to achieve, and hopefully to build on that learning to go above and beyond basic understanding. For educators in any realm of instruction, a firm grasp of what learning is and what it is not is essential to the success of that goal. The following presentation will be divided into three distinct sections: Section one will explain the definition of learning and attempt to explain its psychological underpinnings. Section two will present the definition of a learning environment and present learning models that will aid the viewer in understanding how learning environments are constructed and how they impact what learners learn. Finally, section three will discuss the concept of instructional motivation. What makes learners, want to learn?
Foundations and Framework of Instructional Technology
Section One: Psychological Foundations of Learning
Learning: by Carl Rogers 1983 I want to talk about learning . But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity! I am talking about LEARNING - the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his 'cruiser'. I am talking about the student who says, "I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me." I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: "No, no, that's not what I want"; "Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need"; "Ah, here it is! Now I'm grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!" (Smith, 1999)
What is Learning? A tough thing to define by anyone’s standards. If you are a Behaviorist, meaning that you pattern yourself after the work of B.F. Skinner you likely view learning as a function of your reaction to the outside world. (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p. 58) I’m Sorry! I promise that I won’t leave the lid up ever again. Now, please don’t hit me anymore! Clearly this scene shows education, meaning that there has been change in behavior, but does it really mean that he has ‘learned?’
What is Learning? Another view on learning comes in the form of Cognitive Information-Processing theory. “Where Behaviorism sees learning as simple response to external stimuli, [Cognitive Information-Processing] asserts that there is a mediator (human cognition) between stimulus and response, placing individual control over behavioral responses to stimuli.” (Danice, 1998) This theory maintains three basic tenets:
Response consequences (such as rewards or punishments) influence the likelihood that a person will perform a particular behavior again in a given situation.
Humans can learn by observing others, in addition to learning by participating in an act personally.
Individuals are most likely to model behavior observed by others they identify with. Identification with others is a function of the degree to which a person is perceived to be similar to one's self, in addition to the degree of emotional attachment that is felt toward an individual. (Kehoe, 1999)
Cognitive Information-Processing Theory (contd.) Learning is developed by social interaction and goes beyond the idea that it is just a reaction to external stimulus. What do you think this young man told his mom when she told him about smoking? But his real learning is defined in his own mind not by the simple admonition of his mother. Mom says that smoking does not make you ‘cool.’ But I think Charley is cool and he’s smoking
What is Learning? Situated Learning Theory, is defined as “Meaningful actions, actions that have relations of meaning to one another in terms of some cultural system” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p.62) It is based on two basic principles:
Knowledge needs to be presented in an authentic context, i.e., settings and applications that would normally involve that knowledge.
Learning requires social interaction and collaboration. (Lave, 1996)
What is Learning? Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences. (On Purpose Associates, 1998-2001)
Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning.
Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts. And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts.
In order to teach well, we must understand the mental models that students use to perceive the world and the assumptions they make to support those models.
The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the "right" answers and regurgitate someone else's meaning. (On Purpose Associates, 1998-2001)
What is Learning: A Personal Perspective Learning can be defined in many ways but it is most definitely a change in behavior caused by stimuli. Where I differ from behaviorism is that in my opinion that change in stimuli must come from within or no real learning has taken place. Many times I have crammed for an exam and did well, only to forget everything within a day or two. The motivation was not to learn the material, but to pass the test. My preferred method of learning would be best defined by Situated Learning Theory. I personally get much greater levels of understanding at a much quicker pace when I am confronted with the need to process information within a framework that is ‘real world.’ But, I do feel that some types of learning require the base methods as prescribed by behaviorism. When I am training a group of learners in a particular software, it is imperative that they first garner the basic constructs of how the software functions. How to navigate from screen to screen and how to enter and retrieve data. For this basic ‘learning’ the standard approach of presentation, questioning and simple exercises is well suited. Certainly this basic knowledge is only lodged (cont.)
What is Learning: A Personal Perspective (contd.) ‘ in short term memory and if the learners left the room with no other interaction, would quickly forget all that had been shown. It is at this point that an effective instructor would leave the behaviorist mentality and move into a more Situated Learning mentality. Within this construct learners are asked to process information as they would in their daily work roles; going so far as to be expected to use actual case files and real names to make the process even more realistic. It is this processing within the real world that will serve to lock learning in place. For me, learning is a two phase process. Initial learning must take into consideration a behaviorist view point and present the learner with facts that are to be stored and regurgitated as needed. The next step is to present real world circumstances where in that regurgitation can happen quickly enough to make the base learning applicable. Constructivism was going to be my preferred method, and in reality I would have to say that it is. However, creating environments that truly meet the needs of the constructivist would be very difficult and would, in my opinion, only be valuable for an advanced group of learners who are far beyond basic skills.
Kehoe, Colleen (1999) The Information Processing Theory . Retrieved from the World Wide Web June 7 th , 2005: http://chd.gse.gmu.edu/immersion/knowledgebase/strategies/cognitivism/informationprocessing.htm
Lave, J (1996) Situated Learning . Retrieved from the World Wide Web June 7 th , 2005: http://www.educationau.edu.au/archives/cp/04k.htm
On Purpose Associates (1998-2001) Constructivism. Retrieved from the World Wide Web June 7 th , 2005: http:// www.funderstanding.com/constructivism.cfm
Reiser, Robert A. & Dempsey, John V. (2002) Instructional Design and Technology Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Smith, M. K. (1999) 'Learning theory', the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, June 8th, 2005: www.infed.org/biblio/b-learn.htm
Objectivist Learning environments are noted by the University of Bath website ( http://www.bath.ac.uk/dacs/cdntl/e-Learning/Website/Objectivism.html ) as being a learning environment where among other things:
Learners are assumed to be motivated.
Teacher centered / low learner control.
Objectivists believe that learning is a product that exists external to the learner therefore instruction is designed to push the learning into the learner. (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p. 75) This method can be valuable, but for wrote learning and basic instruction.
Students come to class with an established world-view, formed by years of prior experience and learning.
Students learn from each other as well as the teacher.
Students learn better by doing.
Allowing and creating opportunities for all to have a voice promotes the construction of new ideas.
Constructionist learning environments are designed to “create a place where learners may work together and support each other as they use a variety of tools and information resources in their pursuit of learning goals and problem-solving activities” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p.78). Constructivists believe that:
Can be used to simulate any setting, contemporary, historical, or fictional, and is particularly valuable for social interactivity and role-playing.
Can provide a shared area for collaborative learning between students who live far away from each other between educators, students, and experts with students who have special needs and/or interests
Encourage reading and creative writing.
“ A MUD (Multi-User Domain) is a live, text-based, real-time interactive environment. MUDs combine features of games, simulations, and social activity.” (McCaskey, 1998) MUDS:
What are Learning Environments? “ Collaborative Learning environments refers to an instruction method in which students at various performance levels work together in small groups toward a common goal. The students are responsible for one another's learning as well as their own. Thus, the success of one student helps other students to be successful.” (Gokhale, 1995) Collaborative Learning environments share four basic characteristics:
Knowledge is shared among teachers and students
Authority [for constructing learning] is distributed among teachers and students.
Teachers are primarily educational mediators.
Learning groups must be heterogeneous
(Tinzmann, Jones, Fennimore, Bakker, Fine, and Pierce, 1990)
What is a Learning Environment: A Personal Perspective There are obviously many learning environments, however most seem to ascribe to either the Objectivist or Constructivist theory at their core. Learning environments are either formal and stiff like the stereotype school room of days past, or they are flexible and interactive. Unquestionably the best learning environment in my opinion is the constructivist learning environment. Teachers serve as guides. They allow for learning to take place from within the learner. But, unlike the Collaborative learning model, the teacher is still the primary with regards to authority in the room.
Dougiamas, Martin (1998) A Journey Into Constructivism . Retrieved from the World Wide Web June 8th, 2005: http:// dougiamas.com/writing/constructivism.html#intro
Gokhale, Anuradha (1995) Collaborative Learning Enhances Critical Thinking. Journal of Technology Education Volume 7, Number 1 Fall 1995. Retrieved from Digital Library and Archives database, June 8 th , 2005: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/jte-v7n1/gokhale.jte-v7n1.html
McCasky, Nancy (1998) A Quickstart Guide to Educational MUDS . Retrieved from the World Wide Web, June 7th 2005: http://www.nettally.com/mccaskn/ed-muds.html
Reiser, Robert A. & Dempsey, John V. (2002) Instructional Design and Technology Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Tinzmann, M.B., Jones, B.F., Fennimore, T.F., Bakker, J., Fine, C. and Pierce, J. (1990) What is the Collaborative Classroom . Retrieved from the World Wide Web, June 8 th , 2005: http:// www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/rpl_esys/collab.htm
Motivation: by Terry H. Bell, Former U.S. Secretary of Education There are three things to remember about education. The first one is motivation. The second one is motivation. The third one is motivation. (Lumsden, 1999)
Learner Motivation Gagne’s Theory of Instruction has as its primary component, the gaining of learners attention (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p. 65) According to Gagne gaining a learners attention is “…a change to alert the learner and focus attention on desired features.” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p. 65) This is a basic construct in all forms of communication, of which learning is most certainly one. If I want someone to do something, anything, I must first get them aware that I want them to do it. This ‘getting attention’ in the realm of education is motivation.
Learner Motivation: Intrinsic The best form of motivation to be created in a learning environment is that of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is defined as: “Intrinsic Motivation is the internal desire to fulfill creative pursuits for personal gain without expectations from external influences” ( Duran, Heidrick, Max, Vierra , 2000) Intrinsic motivation generates the type of learning that comes from inside, it can be initiated by outside forces but is driven by the internal, the desire to do, based totally on self-imposed pressures.
Learner Motivation: Extrinsic Extrinsic motivation is the more commonly known and most often utilized form of educational motivation. Students performing tasks by being extrinsically motivated, perform those tasks for the sole purpose of gaining rewards (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p. 87), whether those rewards come in the form of money, points, or a pat on the head. “Our schools are filled with students who have no vision of the value of their work. In our obsession with the assessment of student progress and measurable goals, we have assigned a point total to every activity, inadvertently shifting the emphasis in the students' minds from the intrinsic value of the activity at hand to the inherently meaningless quest for "points".” (Hawkins, 1999)
Learner Motivation: Extrinsic What Hawkins is pointing out is that due to the emphasis on criterion-based testing in our classrooms, we are teaching learners to not bother learning, but just pass the test. Learning done for someone else is much like quitting smoking for a friend or family member. It won’t be long before the motivation is out of the room. What do learners truly learn if their learning is driven only by not meeting the standards of a criteria generated from a source outside of their control?
Learner Motivation: Time Continuum Model The Time-Continuum Model is composed of three part learning sequence, a beginning, a middle and an end ( Wlodkowski, 1999). Within each part a being composed of two motivational learning factors:
Beginning: Attitude and Need
Middle: Stimuli and Affect
End: Competence and Reinforcement
Learner Motivation: Time Continuum Model (contd.) Within each of the three, beginning, middle and end, Wlodkowski provides a logical progression of motivational strategies to move through each phase. The motivational strategies during this initial learning process are:
Make the conditions that surround the subject positive, safe and interesting to ensure successful learning.
Positively confront the possibly misguided beliefs, expectations and assumptions that may underline a negative learner attitude.
Reduce or remove components of the learning environment that lead to failure or fear.
Plan activities to allow learners to meet esteem needs.
Learner Motivation: Time Continuum Model (contd.) The motivational strategies during the middle learning process are:
Change style and content of the learning activity.
Make learner reaction and involvement essential parts of the learning process, through problem solving, role-playing, etc.
Use learner concerns to organize content and to develop themes and teaching procedures. By bringing real life situations into the learning environment, a student begins to answer the question "Why are we learning this?" or makes abstract content more personal and familiar.
Use a group cooperation goal to maximize learner involvement and sharing. (Wlodkowski, 1999)
Learner Motivation: Time Continuum Model (contd.) The motivational strategies during the end learning process are:
Provide consistent feedback regarding mastery of learning. Personalized comments about skill performance can be a strong motivator for adults.
Acknowledge and affirm the learners’ responsibility in completing the learning task.
Provide special reinforcement when it contributes to successful learning and provide closure with a positive ending.
Each of the three sections are progressed through logically and the motivational factors are systematically applied.
Learner Motivation: ARCS The ARCS model of motivational learning is much more flexible than the Time Continuum model and does not specifically prescribe motivational tactics until after an analysis of audience motivation. (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002, p. 91) The ARCS model focuses on four basic concepts:
gets students A ttention
show R elevance
build students’ C onfidence
generate S atisfaction
Learner Motivation: ARCS The motivational design of the model is presented in five key concepts:
Do something new, unexpected and even conflictual or paradoxical.
Personalize lectures with personal anecdotes, stories and other emotional elements to break the monotony of the intellectual activity.
Help students to understand the world around them by relating topics to everyday events.
When very different or new topics need to be introduced try to go slowly and to anchor the new material to something students can relate to.
Encourage students to ask questions, to think out loud, and to otherwise interact in the classroom.
What is Motivation: A Personal Perspective I am of the opinion that people cannot be motivated. I believe that people become motivated, but not from any external source. People are motivated or not motivated by choice. Instructors at all levels of learning can only attempt to make learning either interesting enough or related enough to the individuals life and circumstances that that person decides that pursuit of that learning is worthy of them and therefore generate the motivation to learn it. Motivation is internal, but it does fall upon the instructor to make every effort, to advance upon every learning style, to sing, dance, or tell jokes in the effort to incite that internal motivation. For me, as a trainer of adults for many years, I ascribe to the ARCS model of motivation; although I must confess until this assignment I did not know that my style of presenting had a title. When I am presenting I consider myself to be an “entertrainer.” I consider it my job to make the learning fun and wacky, but effective. I am known for telling jokes, and stories. I throw candy at people for correct answers and generally create an entertaining atmosphere. Within that realm I insure learners are engaged (contd.)
What is Motivation: A Personal Perspective ‘ and are not allowed to become overwhelmed. In the world of computer instruction, this is the worst of all. Allowing a learner to feel they are hopelessly lost. Learning for me is “chunky” and taken in a logical manner and progressing into a much real life as possible. This often includes me generating interactions among learners on a topic and then quietly sliding to a corner of the room to let them fight it out. Not only do I consider this to be the sweetest way to learn, I get the advantage of further understanding my learners at a level beyond the student moniker. Bottom line, learning should be fun!